Humans might be hard-wired to 'love thy neighbor'

Jul 30, 2012
Humans might be hard-wired to 'Love thy neighbor'
Researchers report people were less likely to punish those standing closer to them.

(HealthDay) -- The amount of physical space between people may influence how they react to each other in certain situations, new research suggests.

British from the University of Lincoln argue that people may actually be hard-wired to "love thy neighbor."

In conducting the study, the researchers analyzed the behavior of contestants in first-round episodes of the BBC quiz show, "The Weakest Link."

"In the show contestants must make a choice about who is the worst player based on two very different sources of information," study leader Paul Goddard, senior lecturer in the School of Psychology, explained in a Lincoln news release. "The primary and most reliable source comes from the game itself. If one player gets all their questions wrong, it's a fairly straightforward decision to vote them off. The quandary for contestants arises when there is no clear consensus about who is the worst player, such as in rounds where several players get just one question wrong. In these circumstances, contestants have to rely on a secondary source of information -- their own judgment. This is where can really come to the fore."

The researchers calculated the probability of votes and compared these projections to what actually happened. The study found contestants showed a strong reluctance to vote for the person standing next to them. The researchers dubbed this pattern, 'the neighbor avoidance effect.' They noted this bias was stronger when the group of contestants didn't agree on which players was the weakest.

When forced to make decisions, the study revealed people were less likely to vote off the people next to them and target other contestants who were standing farther away.

The researchers said their observations drew parallels from a controversial experiment conducted in the 1960s. In this experiment, Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram found people were more likely to punish people with an if they were in another room. If people were located in the same room however, they were more reluctant to administer this punishment.

Aside from the distance between players, the found evidence of a gender bias in voting patterns as well. Men and women, they found, were more likely to vote off a woman than a man.

The study was presented recently at the 2012 Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics Conference in Granada, Spain. Data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Explore further: A two generation lens: Current state policies fail to support families with young children

More information: The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides more information on the human brain and how it works.

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User comments : 10

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Telekinetic
2.7 / 5 (7) Jul 30, 2012
"Humans might be hard-wired to 'love thy neighbor'"

Except, of course, when your neighbor is another poster on Physorg.
J P P
3.5 / 5 (8) Jul 30, 2012
"Humans might be hard-wired to 'love thy neighbor'"

Also, except when your neighbor is a sexual minority and you are fundamentalist christian (or other variant of religious fundamentalism).
kochevnik
2.8 / 5 (11) Jul 31, 2012
'Love thy neighbor' was a directive of Caesar Christ to incorporate vanquished peoples into Rome. It essentially meant to stop killing them and turn them into Romans. Xtian retards of course mixed this up with hundreds of other events in their institutionalized retardation.
Satene
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 31, 2012
Humans might be hard-wired to 'love thy neighbor'
The aggression of neighbours is more permanent and unpleasant than the aggression of remote peers. IMO it's just natural effort for avoiding the permanent hostile behaviour from the side of neighbours and no genetics is required for such explanation. IMO overemployed psychologists are seeking for grants and research topics - so they're dealing with connections, which actually don't exist.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Jul 31, 2012
Interesting way to study this - good thinking. (The result, however, is not really surprising)
How else would we be 'social creatures'? Having a propensity for empathy is most certainly a selective factor in favor of survival in an environment beset by predators. And we haven't rid our environment of predators long enough for having had a chance of breedingthat out of our system.
EdMoore
4 / 5 (4) Jul 31, 2012
... An intriguing account

of the reality of the Spirit

where the Creator's finger

has written the thoughts from His mind

onto the tablets of our souls.
Satene
3.5 / 5 (2) Jul 31, 2012
..Humans might be hard-wired to 'love thy neighbor'.. except when your neighbour is a .. minority ..

This is a good point - we are facing the confusion of reasons and consequences here (correlation doesn't imply causation). IMO the people are hardwired to form socially homogeneous communities - after then they will love their neighbours preferentially because they're similar, not because they're closely related. At the moment when the social status of neighbour become inverted, the stronger attraction will transform into stronger hate. Of course, such an interpretation wouldn't play well with multiculturalism, but it fits the particle model (the hydrophobic particles of negative curvature tend to form close groups, because they're attracted mutually, whereas they're still repelling the hydrophilic particles, which are behaving in the dual way).
freethinking
2 / 5 (4) Jul 31, 2012
Nothing about religion in this article. Yet Progressives show their Hate for Christians. The more Progressive a person is, the more tolerant a person says they are, the more hateful they actually are.

What is evident now, is that progressive homosexual activists are the most hateful, intolerant people around. Which is why, I'm going to avoid oreo cookies, and eat at chic-fil-a (even though I have never eaten there before!)
Satene
5 / 5 (1) Jul 31, 2012
IMO the various synergies following from formation of socially homogeneous groups are the primary reason for both biological speciation, both formation of tribes and larger social groups. It even helped the evolution of religion, the primary reason of which is to maintain unifying ideology. The people connected with common stance and way of thinking are stronger and they can resist their environment better: no matter whether their stance is actually supported with reality or not.
oatc
not rated yet Aug 03, 2012
What makes them think that competitors on 'Weakest Link' are in any way representative, though? Did they investigate how people get to be on air? I suspect people apply because they think they might win, and are then screened, rather than being randomly chosen. I'm particularly doubtful of the finding that both men and women prefer to attack women rather than men if they are not neighbours. The women who go on the show - which is a very individual environment, with no opportunity for cooperation or mutual support - may be of a more masculine mind-set than usual, and the men less supportive too.